Inside the Studio

Janel Eleftherakis

Favorite material to work with?
Oils, and my most recent favorite obsession, ‘Ampersand ‘ gessoboard wood panels. It’s beautifully primed with just a small bit of surface teeth.

What themes do you pursue?
I’m fascinated with the 40’s, which is demonstrated in my Sepia Series. My next series is going to be titled ‘Smoked’ which continues that thread of the forties and will include quite a bit of the color ‘payne’s gray’. 
I think I should have been born four decades earlier.

How many years as an artist?
All of my life…well, most of it.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I used to obsess over getting every small detail correct and I badly needed to get outside of my own tightly knit box. So Janis H Sanders, this very cool artist that I was taking palette knife lessons from, once told me “it’s only color.” 
I think at that moment I finally got it.

Where is your studio?
My studio is in my home. It’s small but has so much light and a balcony that overlooks the very pretty Church Street.

Art school or self-taught?
I went to school years ago for graphic design and did work as a graphic illustrator for a small Tallahassee advertising agency back in the day. I loved the creative process involved with designing logos and print ads, etc.
 After that, mostly self-taught.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
Always music and very eclectic. To this day I still torture my kids with my iPod.

What’s around the corner from your place?
A small but great downtown Winchester Center, ponds, parks, shops,
 and cafe’s. It’s a very walkable town.

Favorite contemporary artist?
Olessia Maximenko. I discovered her work in a bistro in Charleston, South Carolina.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
I’d be searching for the devil so I could sell my soul to become one.

Day job?
Artist, homemaker, and when my daughter’s around, chauffeur.

What do you collect?
I try to collect a small painting from local artists in every new town or city that I travel to so that when I see this art on my walls, I connect the memory of the place and what that felt like to me at that moment in time.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
Any Lillian Bassman gelatin silver photograph. Love her!

Who are your favorite writers?
Markus Zusak, Anita Diamant, Stephen Chbosky.

Use anything other than paint?
Worked for many years in pencil/graphite until I found my true love in oils.

Is painting dead?
Gosh no!

Favorite Brush?
#18 Langnickel Supreme oil bright brush.

Palette Knives?
I do use them occasionally. They help to keep me on a more abstract path.

Monet or Manet?
Definitely Monet.

Biggest influence in my life?
My grandmother, also an artist. Through example, Evelyn taught me so much about life, love, and becoming an artist.